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Although it’s inundated with tourism, the city of Alicante is still charming with a lovely old quarter, a castle and a long, leisurely waterfront. Unlike some of the lesser-known cities, Alicante does have a large amount of high rise buildings around the city and by the beach. However if you’re after the best of both worlds, Alicante has a throbbing nightlife, oodles of modern facilities, but also some culture and history. Don’t forget that many different civilisations have made their way through this city and its surrounds!
Head up to the Santa Barbara Castle (Castillo de Santa Barbara), which dates to the 16th century, and enjoy great views over the city. There’s also a museum there, where you can discover the history of Alicante. The city has a wonderful Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante) where you can see works from the masters such as Picasso, Dali, Miró, Tapies and more. Additionally there is a Museum of Fine Art, the Fogueres Museum, the Provincial Archaeological Museum and the City Museum. Try not to miss the flamboyant Santa Maria basilica, from the 18th century.
Plenty of tourists flock to the city purely for the beaches, and some might take the 45 minute trip to Tabarca Island, 22 km away from the city. The city is also famous for its port. If you do decide to visit Alicante, consider coming during the third week of June, when you can see Las Hogueras de San Juan. Although the night of San Juan is picked throughout all of Spain, Alicante takes this to a whole other level, and huge monuments are made, only to be burnt during the big bonfire night.
The convenience of Alicante airport makes it a tempting destination for family holidays. In fact the Alicante-Elche airport is the sixth busiest airport in Spain. With a relatively short flight time between 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending which part of Ireland or the UK you are flying from, it’s an easy enough family trip.
There’s also a good choice of blue flag beaches, with one of these being in the city itself, backed by a palm lined promenade, with a super choice of bars and restaurants.
Of course because of its location on the Costa Blanca, you’ll be bringing your family to an area where English is commonly spoken. In fact there are plenty of British and Irish expats around the city itself and a lot of other places throughout the province of Alicante.
If either Mum or Dad are golfers, another advantage to holidaying in this area is that the Costa Blanca has a superb choice of golf courses to choose from, all of which are within a one to two hour drive from Alicante city. Some of these golf courses were designed by Seve Ballesteros.
There is no lack of choices for family holidays in Alicante, with you prefer to stay in self catering accommodation or a hotel. One family friendly hotel which is in a good location, is the four-star Hotel Spa Porta Maris & Suites del Mar.
Alicante also has the reputation of being a very friendly city, and as there’s so much to see plus great blue flag beaches, couples who like to go to a buzzing location may enjoy a romantic break in Alicante.
In the old part of the town, an especially romantic hotel, which blends history with modern amenities, is the Hospes Amerigo, which you can book at the lowest rate on their own website.
Of course there are heaps of different deals available, whether you decide to look for hotel accommodation or self catering.
Once you love the sun, the Mediterranean lifestyle and somewhere which is lively all year round, but of course especially busy in the height of the season, Alicante can be a good choice for you.
Its nightlife is legendary, it is plenty of food choices and is really something for everybody to do, whether it’s laze on a lovely beach, or soak up some culture and history, or enjoy some shopping.
If you fancy a hotel that’s by the beach and has free Wi-Fi, the Melia Alicante is a good option. It is also family friendly, but it does have an adult only floor.
Alicante is home to a thriving and friendly gay and lesbian culture. The city has beaches, bars and hotels that cater for gay and mixed crowds. Best beach to head to is La Marina, and at night try the Canibal Pub, where there are stricter and strike shows, or the gay disco, the Venial Club.
Did you know that the first dog friendly beach to exist in Spain is actually in Alicante? Playa de Aguamarga has been specially adapted for dogs, so that you and your furry family member can relax on the beach together, and your dog is allowed to go into the water during the summertime.
There are a few hotel is also an Alicante that will allow your pet to stay, one good option in a good location is the Almirante Hotel.
Overlooking the city is the Santa Bárbara castle, located on Mount Benacantil. The tower (La Torreta) which you can see at the top, is the oldest part. Lower parts of the castle and walls were built later in the 18th century.
All along the coast defense towers were built to protect from Barbary pirates. These towers in Alicante date from the 15th to 18th centuries). You can see the remains of around 20 of them still today.
The lesser known of the castles in Alicante, the Castle of San Fernando is worth it for those who like to explore castles which have not been restored. The views are wonderful from it also!
As was often the case, this church was constructed on the site of the former main mosque. Built between the 14th–16th centuries, it is in Gothic style with a high altar, which is Rococo style, and the Baroque style portal.
Once again built on the site of a former mosque, the Co-Cathedral of St. Nicholas of Bari was built between the 15th–18th centuries. It is the city’s main church and the bishop’s seat.
Another Baroque style religious building is the 15th century Monastery of Santa Faz, which is located around 5km (3 miles) outside the city centre.
This is an 18th century convent.
The palace was constructed between 1748 and 1808, and is today home to the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts.